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Sequencing and transcriptional analysis of the biosynthesis gene cluster of putrescine-producing Lactococcus lactis

AuthorsLadero Losada, Víctor Manuel ; Rattray, F.; Mayo Pérez, Baltasar ; Martín, M. Cruz ; Fernández García, María ; Álvarez González, Miguel Ángel
Issue Date2011
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationApplied and Environmental Microbiology 77(18): 6409-6418 (2011)
AbstractLactococcus lactis is a prokaryotic microorganism with great importance as a culture starter and has become the model species among the lactic acid bacteria. The long and safe history of use of L. lactis in dairy fermentations has resulted in the classification of this species as GRAS (General Regarded As Safe) or QPS (Qualified Presumption of Safety). However, our group has identified several strains of L. lactis subsp. lactis and L. lactis subsp. cremoris that are able to produce putrescine from agmatine via the agmatine deiminase (AGDI) pathway. Putrescine is a biogenic amine that confers undesirable flavor characteristics and may even have toxic effects. The AGDI cluster of L. lactis is composed of a putative regulatory gene, aguR, followed by the genes (aguB, aguD, aguA, and aguC) encoding the catabolic enzymes. These genes are transcribed as an operon that is induced in the presence of agmatine. In some strains, an insertion (IS) element interrupts the transcription of the cluster, which results in a non-putrescine-producing phenotype. Based on this knowledge, a PCR-based test was developed in order to differentiate nonproducing L. lactis strains from those with a functional AGDI cluster. The analysis of the AGDI cluster and their flanking regions revealed that the capacity to produce putrescine via the AGDI pathway could be a specific characteristic that was lost during the adaptation to the milk environment by a process of reductive genome evolution. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1128/AEM.05507-11
issn: 0099-2240
e-issn: 1098-5336
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